How a Charlotte Mason Inspired Education Transformed Our Homeschool title
by Ana Willis
silhouette of womans head with trees as the fill
How a Charlotte Mason Inspired Education Transformed Our Homeschool title
by Ana Willis
painting of Charlotte Mason, oil on canvas, 1902
Charlotte Mason
1902, oil on canvas
by Frederic Yates (1854–1919)
The Armitt Museum and Library
The Charlotte Mason philosophy of education has become very popular over these past few years, and it has changed our homeschool for the better in so many ways. Our homeschool was as plain and boring as it could be until I read For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. This book introduced me to Ms. Mason and her philosophy of education and helped me understand what education really is.
Who was Charlotte Mason?
Charlotte Mason was an eighteenth century innovator in education who believed that living books and real-life experiences were the best forms of education. Her work included a feast of ideas to help children receive a well-rounded education.

In 1887, Ms. Mason founded the Parent’s National Education Union to support teachers, schools, and parents who wanted to adopt her principles of education.

Ms. Mason had a passion for teaching children and giving them a well-rounded experience of learning. She knew that children actually love to learn and need a supportive environment to do so, so she built her methods around these principles.

She inspired me to become my children’s facilitator, to inspire them to read, and to allow their curiosity to kindle a love of learning.
What is a Charlotte Mason Inspired Education?
“Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.”
—Charlotte Mason
Education is not just academics. Because children are made of body, soul, spirit, and mind, we must educate them as a whole person, not just in part. Education involves parenting, character training, and discipleship.

Ms. Mason believed in giving children a wide curriculum with a variety of subjects, providing a feast of ideas to think upon. This includes poetry, arts, music, picture studies, classic literature, handicrafts, nature studies, Shakespeare, Plutarch, and more.

A wide feast of subjects brings life into our homeschool and awakens curiosity in children about many different topics. Learning becomes an organic experience that surrounds us in many forms, from music to nature studies.

old black and white photograph of Charlotte Mason
A Charlotte Mason Inspired Education Is a Biblical Education
“We allow no separation to grow up between the intellectual and ‘spiritual’ life of children but teach them that the Divine Spirit has constant access to their spirits, and is their Continual Helper in all the interests, duties and joys of life.”
—Charlotte Mason
Ms. Mason was strongly convicted that the knowledge of God is above the knowledge of man and the knowledge of the universe.

God is in everything. He is in history, in science, in math, in geography, and in biology. If we strip God from our education and detach God from all those subjects, our children’s education will be a secular one.

“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”
—Romans 11:36
In our homeschool, the Bible is not just a subject, it is the core of everything we study and do. Focusing on the knowledge of God has given our children a firm faith foundation and helped us learn to defend our Biblical worldview.

Ms. Mason states, “God, the Holy Spirit, is Himself the supreme Educator of mankind.” This has brought me a greater understanding of John 14:26.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
—John 14:26
We’re not meant to do this relying on our own. The Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, is ready to teach, guide us, and even bring things to our remembrance. What a blessing!
Five Simple Steps to Implement a Charlotte Mason Inspired Education
Our homeschool came alive as I began to implement Charlotte Mason’s principles. Our learning time was no longer boring or overwhelming. Our lessons were shorter, but they captured the kid’s attention. As we began to read living books instead of textbooks, our mornings were filled with stories, adventures, beauty, and goodness.

1. Read Living Books

“And all the time we have books, books teeming with ideas fresh from the minds of thinkers upon every subject to which we can wish to introduce children.”
—Charlotte Mason
Living books are an alternative to boring textbooks. They include fiction and non-fiction and are literature written by an author with a talent for bringing the story alive. Above all, living books engage children’s ideas and imagination to better understand and retain the information they learn.
silhouette of bird made of trees
2. Focus on Habit Training
“The habits of the child produce the character of the man.”
—Charlotte Mason
Ms. Mason considered the formation of habits in a child a mother’s habit. Habit formation is an important part of a Charlotte Mason homeschool approach. Charlotte Mason describes training habits as laying down the rails. What a wonderful picture in a mother’s mind as she focuses on teaching her children good habits and trains them the way they should go as the Bible commands us.

3. Copywork
To practice handwriting, spelling, and grammar, Ms. Mason believed it was important to keep a notebook for copying down poetry, prose, scripture, and quotes daily.

Five minutes a day of copywork does wonders for our children. Language arts lessons don’t have to be long and boring to be effective. This gentle daily practice is enough to improve handwriting, learn grammar, vocabulary, and spelling.

4. Narration
Narration is the art of telling. It’s the process of having the students repeat back in their own words what they have learned from a lesson or a book. Children narrate by nature. They are more likely to remember great stories they read and enthusiastically retell them to others. Narration is an easy and wonderful way to ensure that children understand what they are learning.

old black and white photograph of Charlotte Mason College
5. Nature Studies
Ms. Mason had a strong belief that children should explore God’s creation and spend time outdoors to develop a better education. She encouraged them to keep nature journals to discover and identify plants and wildlife in these journals. Children are encouraged to write poetry, detailed descriptions, and even notes about the weather.

Nature walks have become a daily habit for our family. Our time out in nature helps us to observe and contemplate God’s beautiful creation as we learn about the fauna and flora around us. Here is a practical guide to starting nature studies.

A Charlotte Mason Inspired Education Can Transform Your Homeschool Too
Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education was exactly what my family needed. It’s restful, gentle, and has made a huge impact on our family. You don’t have to change everything in your homeschool overnight to see a transformation. We gradually implemented Ms. Mason’s principles and ideas into our homeschool through the years. We experienced big changes little-by-little. Today, my children love learning, they have become independent learners, and we have found discovering new things together is a joy!

Give a Charlotte Mason education a try! To help other moms get started, my friend Tatiana and I host annually the Charlotte Mason Inspired Online Homeschool Conference. We have helped over 5,000 moms implement a Charlotte Mason philosophy of education to their homeschool in the last three years.

Our spring conference will help you get started. Save the date May 16-21. The Homeschool Sisterhood, our year-round membership program, provides you and your children with monthly habit training, book clubs, mentorship, support, and our famous Friday Feasts that teach your children about famous composers, famous artists, poetry, nature studies, and much more. Also, the Charlotte Mason Inspired Homeschool Foundations bundle will breathe new life into your homeschool.

Ana Willis

na Willis is a wife and homeschool mom of three turned homeschool blogger and speaker. She is also a women’s pastor and a passionate Bible and Hebrew teacher. She loves helping moms to find joy and fulfillment in their homeschool calling. Her goal is to help them go from stressed to blessed, nurturing restful homeschooling through a living education, and living a beyond blessed life. For the past 5 years, Ana has been mentoring thousands of homeschool moms through her blog They Call Me Blessed as well as the Charlotte Mason Inspired Online Conference and more.